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actions had been as unaimed and meaningless as the blows
of a blind man who strikes out at the undefined sounds which
penetrate his private darkness.

Certainly, he was to decide, he had not known Senator
Tolliver. He had not sensed for a moment the desperation
that lurked beneath his urbanity, his gestures of consideration
and kindness, the assured and commanding glance of his
grey eyes. And, not knowing, he had been the dupe in the
game which the Senator was playing with the cunning of his
long experience of men and their weaknesses and with the
desperation of his own immediate need. When the game
had been begun, Mr, Munn could never guess. Perhaps
the Senator had started in the fullest sincerity; or had started
one game only to find himself involved in another, not the
will then but the hand, not the hand but the instrument.
That did not matter, Mr. Munn was to tell himself bitterly—
the question of intention—for the Senator was one of those
men whose day-to-day behaviour, whose most casual gesture
or familiar word, was like the campaign of a good general in
that it made him able to strike in this direction or that, at
need. But, in any case, he himself had been the Senator's
dupe, his lackey-boy. He had been taken in. When the
Senator said jump, he had jumped. And he had not been
alone.

In early spring the Alta Company, Dismukes and Brothers
Tobacco Company, two smaller companies, the Morton and
the Regal, and a group of independent buyers made offers
within one week. The offers exhibited some variations, a
fraction of a cent more for prune leaf in one than in another,
a fraction less for seconds, but the more closely the offers
were investigated, especially in the light of the poundages
on which they were based, the more superficial the variations
appeared. " I feel inclined to believe," Mr. Sills said when
he presented the offers to the board, "that these offers
represent an agreement among the concerns and individuals
in question. I believe they got together on it and figured it
out so the prices would work out about the same. Of course,